Coach Zac Taylor holds the AFC Championship trophy next to owner Mike Brown. File photo

By Conrad Clowers

Cincinnati Herald Sports

The sequel to the big box office movie ‘the Bengals go to the Super Bowl’ is finally playing at a theater near you!

The Bengals, who surprised everyone and made an appearance in Super Bowl 56 last season have started training in hopes to be part of Super Bowl 57. The team has to start out their first week of training camp without their quarterback in addition to a few other people.

Last season, Jesse Bates played under star level. Be that as it may, Bates is still seen as a star and one of the best safeties in the NFL. Bates contract with Cincy is up. The Bengals decided to franchise tag  Bates. The tag means Cincinnati has to pay Bates the average of the top 5 salaries at that position. Bates also has choices. He can decide not to play. Thus far the Bengal veteran has decided not to show up for Bengal training camp. He is also rumored to have said he will not sign the  contract at any point in 2022. If he does, he will be paid 13 million dollars for one season of service.

Head coach Zac Taylor and company knew Bates didn’t have a contract, wasn’t happy about a franchise tag, and would likely hold out. The team drafted safety Dax Hill in the first round as an insurance policy just in case the situation with Bates went sideways. As expected, Bates is holding out, and Hill, a former Michigan standout, has gotten the majority of reps at Bates safety position.

The Bengals also acquired three star offensive lineman during the off season. Two of the three, Alex Cappa and La’el Collins have started training camp out with injuries.  Though all three have more talent, experience, and skills than any lineman the Bengals started in 21, the new line will need time to work together. The left hand will need time to work with the right hand to get to know tendencies, assignments and schemes. Many people who don’t know football think you can just plug talented players in and they automatically perform at their best, no matter who they are with. In addition to two of the three new lineman, quarterback Joe Burrow had missed some time with an appendix surgery.

Once all the new faces have healed and/or reported to training camp, we will see if this Bengal team can take the next step.

The Bengals will play their first game against the Arizona Cardinals August.  

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